Eddie Howe lays out Newcastle plan to make City ‘uncomfortable’ in six-goal thriller; lauds one Magpies star

Eddie Howe and Bruno Guimaraes, Newcastle

Eddie Howe says he wanted his Newcastle players to make Manchester City ‘uncomfortable’ by using their physicality in the 3-3 draw at St James’ Park.

The visitors took the lead just five minutes in when Ilkay Gundogan brought down a Bernardo Silva cross and finished on the half volley. The Newcastle defenders were guilty of focusing on Erling Haaland and not watching Gundogan drift into the box.

Newcastle began to stretch the City defence though and Allan Saint-Maximin caused them plenty of problems.

The Magpies got their reward in the 28th minute when Saint-Maximin crossed for Joe Willock and Miguel Almiron. Willock missed it, but Almiron was there to make contact with the ball and send it into the bottom corner off his thigh.

And they grabbed the lead shortly before half time when Callum Wilson took a good touch away from his marker before beating Ederson with a calm finish.

Kieran Trippier gave Newcastle a two-goal cushion after the break with a brilliant free-kick from 25 yards out.

Haaland pulled one back for City in the 60th minute by volleying into the roof of the net after some good work by Rodri. And their comeback was complete a few minutes later, as Silva slid the ball past Nick Pope to make it 3-3.

Trippier was then shown a red card for bringing down Kevin de Bruyne with a high tackle, only for the referee to overturn the decision – and reduce it to a yellow – after a VAR review.

The match ended in a draw and while it is a great result for Newcastle, they were hoping for more after going 3-1 up.

Draw a roller-coaster of emotions – Eddie Howe

“It was an incredible game and a roller-coaster of emotions,”  Eddie Howe said during an interview with Sky Sports (via BBC Sport). “We went 1-0 down which is the worst possible start against this team because then you have to chase the game. But I think the players responded brilliantly.

“For the neutral, I’m sure it was an incredible game. But we needed something from the game and the players deserved it. It was mentally tiring because I was trying to help the team when you know the game has swung in their balance. But you also don’t want to do something that harms us as well.

“Hopefully everyone is entertained and we got something from it.”

Howe then spoke about aiming to make City ‘uncomfortable’ by getting his players to use their strength. “We brought our physicality to the match, we spoke about it all week and we wanted to make them uncomfortable. We wanted to put them under pressure and leave here feeling they had been in a game. Certainly we were in their faces and we committed very well.

“If you press high you are potentially leaving space in behind so it’s a balancing act. I have to credit the discipline of the group because we did it very well.

“We knew it would be a difficult end to the game because of the quality of their decision-making on the ball. They don’t give you a rest.”

Eddie Howe then heaped praise on goalkeeper Nick Pope, who made several crucial saves to keep Newcastle in the match. “We are also indebted to Nick Pope because he made a number of good saves. But we also had our moments the other way and I thought we were a constant threat in the game.”

Trippier talks Saint-Maximin form and his goal

Trippier added: “We wanted to go toe-to-toe with them and I thought we did that throughout the match. Manchester City are a top side and they have the quality to get themselves back in the game. But it shows just how far we have come since January. The lads are disappointed after being 3-1 up, but we have to take the positives.”

On man of the match Saint-Maximin, Trippier continued: “He is the type of player that gets everyone on the edge of their seat. He is a top-quality player and he has shown today what he is all about. I’m delighted he is my team-mate. He gets us up the pitch and wins us matches and he was a threat throughout. For him, it’s about being consistent.”

When asked about his free-kick goal, the England right-back said: “I always fancy myself on free-kicks and I’m delighted I could help the team take that extra step and lead the game.”

Attention then turned to his initial red, which soon became a yellow. “I would sacrifice everything for my team and I want to win. But I’m not the type of player to injure anyone. I spoke to Kevin [de Bruyne] after the game and the ref overturned the decision.”

Saint-Maximin added: “We are disappointed because we really wanted to win the game to show what we can do. The future is bright for Newcastle if we can keep playing at this level.

“I try to improve a lot and I listen a lot to my friend (Trippier). He has played for very good clubs and for England so I just try to play with my best and show the world what I’m capable of.”